April 24, 2015

50 Shades of Abuse

I know you guys are probably sick of hearing this, and there are plenty of blogs and articles that already talk about the abuse in 50 Shades of Grey. Just google "50 Shades of Abuse" and you'll see what I mean. However, I think it's important to talk about it for the sake of the younger, impressionable, generation.

There is two sides to this argument, 1) It's just a book, it's fiction/fantasy, why the big deal? and 2) The book is totally about an abusive relationship. Some might argue there is a third opinion, that there is no abuse, but having read the first ten chapters myself, I scoff at that. (Yes, I read ten horribly written chapters and had to stop. The writing was awful, inner goddess? Really? What the heck is that about? And then the whole showing up at her work? She never even told him where she worked and he's not even her boyfriend! I swear I was more freaked out than Ana when I read that, but I digress.) 

Physical abuse might not be as obvious since Ana consented to being dominated (although it seems to be quite unhealthy), but psychological abuse it totally present.  
By juxtaposing statements such as “I am incapable of leaving you alone” with “you can leave at any time,” Grey engages in emotionally manipulative — and questionably abusive — behavior. (source)
However, instead of making another post on how 50 Shades of Grey is abusive, I want to focus on how this affects young adults and teenagers. Let's start with looking back at the Twilight series, the inspiration for 50 Shades of Grey. 

I had the unfortunate experience of reading the Twilight series (yes I actually somehow manage to make it through this one, I was in a vampire phase). The books were horribly written, but my main issue was Bella. Bella, Bella, Bella, where do I start? You got this girl who desperately likes this guy, becomes obsessed, falls in love, and then he leaves her. She goes into a deep depression and tries to kill herself. That's a great reaction to being dumped! What message does that send to teenage girls, that if you love someone so much and they don't love you back, it's the end of the world? That going into suicide mode is normal after a break up? Well I hope not!

It's one thing to enjoy books like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey, it's a whole other issue when people begin to believe the relationships in the books are healthy. A lot of people claim Ana is okay with everything Christian does, then why does she desperately want to talk about "sex" with her best friend? Why does she want to leave, go to Alaska? Why does she complain about her food regiment even though she signed the agreement? 

I just don't agree or I think she's being manipulated to be okay with it. I mean, she's a virgin, she's never had sex, she doesn't know anything other than what Christian has taught her. Ana needs to get out and date other guys. To me she seems weak and pathetic, hence why she stays an awful relationship. Bella and Ana are two girls who could use some serious therapy. 

Thus, the problem isn't the stories themselves, it's the readers. The readers need to realize that it is fiction and not base their relationships on the ones in these stories. No girl should wish to marry a Christian Grey or Edward Cullen. Parents need to make sure their kids understand this, but there are plenty of parents out there who claim this is an okay relationship? Would you seriously want your daughter to marry a Christian Grey. Some guy who just takes an innocent girl, turns her into his sex slave, and basically manipulates her into staying with him because otherwise he'd go after her? Does that sound healthy?

I think schools need a relationship class for this reason. Not all parents can be trusted to teach their kids these important lessons. If more girls were aware of the potential danger in these type of relationships, they'd be less likely to end up in one.

Not only girls can be affected by these books, boys too. They might think this abusive, dominant behavior is okay. It could lead them to potentially abuse women and thinking it was okay because that's what a relationship is about. So denying that there isn't any abuse in the books could be quite harmful on our society.

I repeat, my problem is not with the stories, it's what the readers take away from the story. I think the reason many claim that Christian and Ana have a healthy relationship is because they feel the need to defend a story they loved. It's okay to love the story for what it is, a story, but it's not okay to claim that the relationship is healthy because that leaves an impression on young girls that could lead to them to being in an abusive relationship. I would never want any of my children to marry a Christian Grey, let alone date one, and I would hope many other parents feel the same way.

For those of you who would like to read more about the abuse in 50 Shades of Grey, check out these links: